Effective viscosity of dilute bacterial suspensions: A two-dimensional model

Brian M. Haines, Igor S. Aranson, Leonid Berlyand, Dmitry A. Karpeev

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61 Scopus citations


Suspensions of self-propelled particles are studied in the framework of two-dimensional (2D) Stokesean hydrodynamics. A formula is obtained for the effective viscosity of such suspensions in the limit of small concentrations. This formula includes the two terms that are found in the 2D version of Einstein's classical result for passive suspensions. To this, the main result of the paper is added, an additional term due to self-propulsion which depends on the physical and geometric properties of the active suspension. This term explains the experimental observation of a decrease in effective viscosity in active suspensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number046003
JournalPhysical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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